First off; a huge “Thank You!” for the gift of my incredible Sabbatical. It was an amazing, transformative, confirming, and refocusing time.
The first week, I was struck with how little people needed me, how irrelevant I felt, and how empty it was to just be home…not “working”…REALITY was a big word for me that first week. It was like I was able to see reality more clearly than ever before, and most of it wasn’t pretty.
The second week, was camping with the fam, and that was totally fun. The tough feelings of the week before seemed to mesh with the goodness of God’s grace and light, and I began to really rest in the moments of vacation and family-time.
The third week was a time of inspiration! A children’s book with the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young” captured my heart in crazy ways. I began to see my music as only one facet of a diverse ministry that God wanted to bring into my life, and when I viewed it that way (instead of my everything, or my identity) I got really inspired, seeing visions of future ministry, and writing four songs in about an hour!
The last week was marked by my 24-hour solo, silent retreat along the coastline of San Clemente. It was a powerful time as I felt God invite me, personally, to the new adventure He has planned. Even though I still have no idea what it is, I have a deep sense of excitement and hope in following the God of loving surprises!
Which leads me to my big surprise: I’m going…BACK TO SCHOOL!!!
It’s true! This month, I followed my first-ever Sabbatical with another first; graduate school. I was accepted, along with only 30 other students, into Biola’s Masters program in Spiritual Formation. Here is the link all about the school and the degree program:
I have been a student for two weeks now, and I am loving every minute! I can’t believe I get to do this!!! Heidi has been an encouraging supporter of the idea ever since it begin to grow last year as a small stirring. I looked at other schools included Fuller, Vanguard, and Azusa, but after talking to pastor friends and other leaders in the field, I set my sights on Talbot Seminary at Biola. I’m so honored to have been accepted, and I’m cherishing this experience. It is a three-year program in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care – an intense study of how people grow by the work of the Spirit (including myself), and how to lead others in true growth and ongoing, vibrant relationship with Jesus. It will be interesting to see how God weaves my passion for this subject together with all the other Callings He’s placed in my life! The classes are only on Mondays so far, so I’m adjusting my touring schedule accordingly and praying for God’s direction in it all…
Thanks for your continued prayers, as I discern these new moves of the Spirit.
I turned 40 yesterday, and to celebrate the season – to put a line in the sand – I’ve written six chapters of history. Part memoir, part advice column, teaching tool, and ministry resource…here’s my take, from nearly 20 years of touring, on MISSION, CALLING, SONGWRITING, MUSIC BUSINESS, BOOKING, STAGE PRESENCE, BALANCE, and WORSHIP LEADING.
It’s $10, comes in PDF format on CD, includes an audiobook, wallpaper, and 10 rare MP3s, and right now, there’s only one way to get it:
Thanks for your support!
Can you believe I got my familiy to take this crazy picture??? I had to talk them into it a bit, but they actually had fun once we all got set up. Farrah, our oldest is 13! She’s leading her Junior High worship team at ROCKHARBOR and made her national stage debut at Fishfest this summer with a 30 minute set on the “Family Stage”. There’s a snippet of her performance on Youtube here. Brennan is rockin’ the drums with three years of lessons under his belt and several concerts with dad…all these new adventures this year inspired the pic. Our famous photographer friend Jules Bianchi (julesbianchi.com) graciously donated her time and fit us in right after family portaits for Chris O’Donnell. Crazy. It was a blast!
This season and time of year reminds us of how grateful we are for friends like you. Thanks so much for joining us on this adventure of faith, service, and leadership.
Read the book of LUKE with me these next few days, if you get a chance! Let’s dive again into the drama unfolding all around us. May we be CAPTURED by the story…again…of God’s great love, His generosity, and His reckless pursuit of us…how crazy is this???
The recording sessions in Seattle this month went great! We are getting closer and closer to the long-awaited 10th album… We’ll keep you posted, for sure!
2010 concert dates are filling up. We’d love to see you out on the road!
If you’d like to make one last year-end, tax deductible donation to a great cause, this is your opportunity! We’d be blown away and grateful beyond words for your financial support. Every penny goes right into sending us out and pushing us forward. To contribute, hit the Pay Pal button on our website, call with your credit card number, or write a check to:
Justin Fox Ministries
3007 Donnybrook Ln.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Thanks again for allowing us to be an extension of your ministry to the world!
YAAAAAHHHHHHH, we did it!!!! It’s over! Everyone now; deep sigh of relief…
I’m really happy with how this last day went. It was a big one, but God was bigger. The 2 services at Oasis went pretty smooth, 2nd better than the first (I was more awake, audience had more energy, and I didn’t do quite as many clumsy things). Samme’s short sermon on “Poolman” was ground-breaking…in fact, I’m comfortable calling it legendary at this point. I will try to post it up on this site if I get a copy, and I definitely need to send it to TIM! Lou Gramm did not show sadly, but I did meet hundreds of warm, welcoming, supportive, and encouraging people! The CD donations, love offering, and church’s honorarium completely blew me away. It was a huge financial windfall that will propel our ministry forward in profound ways — THANK YOU, OASIS!!!
We all hit the Chinese food place again for lunch, and then I took off for my super-last-minute booking back in Geneva. My voice was doing well, but feeling a little stripped, so right after sound check in Geneva, I borrowed a pot and dish towel from the church kitchen, boiled water in it, found a quiet room, and with the dishtowel around my face, I inhaled steam for about 15 minutes. I have to say, that is one of my new favorite voice-care activities! It feels awesome! And it’s an excuse for more solitude and quiet…you should try it! The concert went OK…very small crowd…6, 7, 10 people? Very mellow, too. At one point, I felt compelled to say that “permission is granted to clap after a song, if you’d like”…hee hee… I really dug the pastor and his family. Good people with sincere hearts. Thanks to Paul Estro and his wife for helping me connect with this church. Paul is a unique, passionate musician that you should check out. He opened my Thursday night show this week and did a great job!
Well, New York is much bigger and more rural than I ever imagined…tons of open land with beautiful, vintage farm houses everywhere…it just goes on and on and on…I had a great adventure here, and I’m already plotting my return trip; Summer? Bring the family? Fire up the motorized surfboard??!!!! Oh yah, SAVE IT FOR ME, LOU!!!
I can’t thank all my hosts, concert promoters, and friends enough for this amazing week. I am humbled and honored to serve alongside you! Thanks, readers, for sharing in this trip with me. Please pray my flights all run smooth tomorrow and that I am home on schedule to pick the kids up from school.
4 days home and then the band and I pile in the van for a weekend of shows in Nor Cal.
…and The Tour rolls on…
I am rounding the corner, people! Over the top! I am feeling the momentum of the second-half pulling me toward home, and it’s all downhill now…in the best way!
I drove most of the day after my 11:30 am rock star breakfast by the lake. That’s livin’! I experienced the first feeling of warm sun since I left Cali and took a few pictures of the scenery, bought that capo and then hit the road. The Aspire does not have a CD player (or at least I can’t find one), so I’ve not been able to listen to the 5 or so CDs that people have given me – sorry, guys! I try to pray a lot when I’m driving, and today I reflectively journeyed through the Lord’s Prayer, adding in extra stuff and personal prayers to each line…it took an hour! The other hours I spent listening to Fresh Air, Prairie Home Companion, and This American Life podcasts.
After crossing miles and miles of farmland, I pass through Albany and then deeper into the country for my next stop. My hosts tonight are Pastor Roger and his family. They put on a great event to raise money for the local food bank…and cooked great meatloaf! The crowd was fun and responsive, my voice felt fine, and I ended up making my concert a little longer than I thought…the time just flew by! People were so kind and generous at the “tent table” and as I was reaching down to grab some more CDs out of the suitcase, I saw something shiny…something metal…MY CAPO!!! So, I guess now I have a back-up…
I’m in the extra bedroom at Roger’s house and getting ready to talk to Heidi and the kids and then get some sleep. I’m thankful that the fam has been doing good this week. I’ve called Heidi every day, talked to the kids several times, and I’ve been texting my 12-year-old ’cause that’s how she communicates now. I bought cheezy NY trinkets for them all…real crowd pleasers! Only 2 more real days to go, and then my fly-day home. I’m so stoked! I can’t wait to get back to Rochester tomorrow and hang out again with Samme and the Oasis crew…I’ll be rehearsing with his band for Sunday services and finally; PIZZA AND WINGS!!!
I’ll see my largest audiences of the trip on Sunday. It’ll be my fullest day so far. May God restore my energy and focus and keep me humbly dependent on Him.
On the home stretch…
Oh man, thanks for your prayers, everyone!!! My voice recovered and my singing at tonight’s concert was totally fine! A real miracle. I tried to stay quiet all day except to answer the U.S. Border officer’s questions…as he pulled me out of the car and SEARCHED IT! I didn’t know what was going on. I just tried to stay calm and not look guilty or nervous…but that’s when you look the most guilty and nervous, right?! They finally let me go, and I was sure happy to be back in America.
The Aspire is running like a champ!
My hosts tonight put me up at this really nice hotel overlooking a giant lake. I was so blessed! The concert went well. I’m just super relieved that my voice held up and seems to be getting better and better. Another big miracle: I was unable to schedule a Sunday night service on this trip, but still booked my ticket for Monday morning by faith that something could come up. Well, God’s plan unfolded…A pastor of the local Assemblies church was in the audience tonight and BOOKED ME for this Sunday!!! Amazing. I’m so stoked.
I uploaded a new video clip the other day. It’s a fun piece in the middle of our DVD documentary, including interviews with three of my brothers. They are STUDS! Oh yah, and I step in dog doo-doo…
Tomorrow I will sleep in for sure…and buy a capo after breakfast. The Albany youth group concert tomorrow is 3 hours away. It’s a benefit for the church’s food pantry. May hearts be touched, motivated, and inspired!